Yosemite rim fire – should you visit Yosemite or not ?

Two weeks of travelling through the wild – wild west of America, hopping through six national parks and enduring through the range of climatic conditions, we are finally back with tired limbs, overwhelming experience, some lifelong memories and few mind-boggling three thousand plus images and bucket full of stories for you.

Let me download everything first !  I need some real vacation now ! 😀

Before my hypnotic mind get restored to its original frame, let me brief you quickly about this appalling Yosemite rim fire.

For International tourist like us, who has planned almost one year ahead to visit one of the most beautiful national park of USA – Yosemite is almost dream come true. And we were left with no option than to proceed with our plans. Having spent couple of days there, we thanked God that we did. It was truly marvellous in every aspect.

Blue hills, silvery granite domes, green valleys, crystal clear skies – Yosemite is simply incredible !

yosemite valley

No impact of rim fire on Yosemite valley

Sadly enough a hunter’s illegal fire (read it on LA Times) has brought such colossal damage to one of the most beautiful and precious national park that boast of such rich bio diversity, the park is so huge, so spread out and that manifolds the damage. Thousands of acres burned to ashes!

The rising mushrooming clouds of smoke can be visible from the Glacier point of Yosemite valley, the air quality is not good (as per the statistics) but once you are inside the valley, you wont feel any traces of smoke in the air.

yosemite rim fire

Yosemite rim fire visible from Glacier point enroute

How to reach Yosemite valley –

Ours was two-week long trip through the western part of America, and we had planned to approach Yosemite through the eastern gates, that connects the valley through the Tioga pass.

Tioga pass is open for the month and it takes just an hour drive to the valley visitor center. But few section of the road is closed because of the rim fire. You can drive till Olmstead point and on the way, can visit the Tuolumne meadows and Tenaya lake.

Detour – Since, Tioga pass was closed between Crane flat to Yosemite creek, we were left with no options than to take the detour. If you are coming from Eastern Sierra, the 395 S detour will take you through Fresno to Yosemite southern entrance, and the drive is almost 8 hours long.

So instead we planned to head north from Mammoth, following 395 N and then head west on 108 following the Sonora pass highway. It will take around 5 hours to reach Yosemite valley and almost the same time to reach San Francisco.

Sonora pass is beautiful but it was shrouded heavily in smokes, visibility was very poor, so if ever you plan to take that route , drive cautiously and follow all the rules and signs.

sonora pass highway

Smoke filled sonora valley

Next day we  head towards Yosemite valley from San Francisco, which was 4 1/2 hours drive one way.

Because of the rim fire, the visitor footfall was on the lighter side, we drove through most of the vista points and enjoyed our days there. Valley shuttle runs every twenty minutes between the points of interests.  We concluded our Yosemite trip at Mariposa groves.

The valley has no impact of Yosemite rim fire. Monitor the situation on NPS site,  before you go and enjoy your stay there.

I will write more about Yosemite later, this was just to inform you, specially to the International tourist like us, that though the travel advisories are still in effect, you can visit Yosemite valley safely.